Neglect Is A Subtle Form of Murder [short story]

Chevrolet Express Emergency Response Services by Michael Gil, Creative Commons - some rights reserved, https://www.flickr.com/photos/msvg/4433428957/
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“Dammit, don’t leave me sir!” The EMT pushed another dose of adrenaline into the unresponsive man. Jason instructed the other EMT to look for any clues about what they were dealing with, but without moving anything. A heavy musty smell filled the darkened bedroom like nothing had moved in the room for days if not longer. Jason prepared the prone figure lying on the floor for transport. The other EMT found nothing out of the ordinary in the other rooms beyond an empty refrigerator and bare pantry. Dozens of tabs of what looked like over the counter sleeping pills were mixed with prescription pain pills spilled out of a couple overturned bottles on one of the nightstands. Pulse weak and thready, pupil dilation unresponsive, Jason and the other EMT moved their patient to the stretcher and were heading out of the bedroom when a phone rang from under the bed covers. Building security was talking with police and quickly moved toward the phone. Jason stopped and turned his head toward the sound, trying to recognize the ringtone…

“You and I were friends from outer space,
Afraid to let go, The only two who understood this place
And as far as we know, we were way before our time…”

The officer answered the phone but there was no one on the other end and the phone was dropped into an evidence/property bag. Jason and the other EMT hadn’t gotten very far into the hallway outside the apartment with the stretcher before the unconscious man silently expired. Jason was too tired from the day and the past hour to do much more than quietly cuss under his breath. He called over one of the officers and the officer frowned and shock his head saying something about “fucking paperwork,” when he heard they were now heading to the morgue and not ER. Jason agreed, “fucking paperwork.” He and the other EMT then took what was just a moment before a human being to their van, to be refrigerated until the ME could run whatever test were needed to determine the cause of death, and mentally geared up for the pile of paperwork they’d have to do before calling it a day. In the end, he thought, a human life is just a pile of fucking paperwork.

Resources:
Image: Chevrolet Express Emergency Response Services by Michael Gil, Creative Commons – some rights reserved, https://www.flickr.com/photos/msvg/4433428957/

JBB’s Final Thoughts: Dear Mr. Atheist, Part 1

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2014-07-10_dear-mr-atheist-p1Episode 10: Religion and politics on the Internet, what could go wrong? My initial thought about the “Dear Mr. Atheist” viral video. Please check out the LetUsExplain response video. They do a great job addressing Joshua Feuerstein’s points (with a sense of humor, too)

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Love is a Strength, Fear is the Weakness

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At a time when many would divide us and try to use our fears to keep from discovering what we’re capable of, it’s time to speak out against the Fearmongers. If you give yourself a chance to get past the surface and the labels and the fear, we are capable of so much good. Even the haters have some light somewhere that they are trying to shield from what they are afraid of. Let your light shine, said one wise soul.

June 30th

2004 - JBB, Kats & Matt
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Today would have been my older sister, Kathie’s, 60… something birthday. The number isn’t important, except that the number stopped last December. I thought about her this morning when I was getting in my walking. We were on a parallel course the last few years with a similar illness robbing both of us the use of our legs. I got treatment within the first few months of the illness taking root, she didn’t. The reasons she didn’t get treatment are pretty complicated, but I know one thing for certain. I had medical advocates who pushed for me when my condition went from being something possibly pinched-nerve-related to can’t-support-his-weight and that didn’t seem to be the case for her.

She should still be here. She was looking forward to the birth of her second grand-baby and we would have had to endure an endless stream of photos and stories about the newest little one had she lived to see the beginning of precious little Belle’s life. She was pretty much impossible with just one grand-baby, she would have been even crazier with two. Being on the East Coast and apart from the rest of the family, I get to imagine these things without having the others argue with me about this or that detail… We’re all pretty stubborn when it comes to our opinions. And Kats was the leader of the band who’s force of personality kept us all in check (even Matt).

It’s going to take me a good long time to deal with this. I’m not going to button it up with some passing notion about “Better Places” or the like. This is the tragedy that shouldn’t have happened, but did. We had a hell-of-a-lot more Bill Murray movies that we were supposed to watch together that I’m now going to have experience without her (she would have loved “The Grand Budapest Hotel”). Damn. I wish that I could wish her “happy birthday” and it not be just in my head.

10. 1960s - bustillos brood from youngest to oldest (I don't know what I'm doing with my hands...).

10. 1960s – bustillos brood from youngest to oldest (I don’t know what I’m doing with my hands…).

JBB’s Final Thoughts: Developing Good Habits

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2014-06-23 Exercise apps - 5Episode 9: Turns out that regaining my mobility and especially increasing my walking and exercising means that I have to go back to doing things that I wasn’t very good about before, like stretching before or after a workout, or drinking enough water during the day or, god forbid, getting enough sleep each night. Damn. iOS apps and cute athletes to the rescue. Links to additional resources on stretching below, plus the apps mentioned and the Michelle Jenneke videos. Finally, here’s a link to an appearance on an Australian Sports-Talk-Show where she shows how good a sport she is and I apologize for my bad American accent and mispronouncing your name in my video. Ack.

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Jerry DeWitt’s Journey from the Known to the Unknown

2014-05-02 Book covers - 1 Jerry DeWitt - Hope After Faith
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I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Jerry DeWitt last Fall, that was at the end of his book tour promoting, Hope after Faith. I felt a tad guilty that I hadn’t read his book at this point but going to the presentation was a good introduction to this former Pentecostal preacher who had chosen to embrace his skepticism. One of the interesting things about the book, that might frustrate some, is that the bulk of the book chronicles DeWitt’s journey from enthusiastic believer through frustrated evangelist and only spends the last couple chapters on his life as a non-believer. So much of the book was about his lifelong efforts to become the evangelist for Christ that he felt he was called to be, that it might be confusing to some, especially given the book’s title. It could be too much church-culture for those looking for some behind-the-scene/dirty-laundry against the church expose. As someone who continues to try to figure out how to integrate my own “church history” to my present journey, I can understand the need DeWitt might have had to spend so much time writing about all the years he spent trying to live up to the calling he felt in his life.

I don’t know that the book would help those without any personal experience growing up religious and then openly choosing another path. And as one who has that experience, there’s part of me that wonders how the story might have been different had DeWitt had more success as an evangelist. I mean, I don’t care who you are, but anyone’s faith would be greatly tested if one set the goal to preach the Word as one highest goal but at the same time couldn’t afford food, housing, decent transportation or adequate healthcare for ones family. And we’re not talking about the extravagance that religious leaders are often accused of committing, but just meeting the basic day-to-day needs.

Anyway, this leads me to believe that however one lands on the God/Atheist question, it’s a completely personal question that no one else can decide for you. Those of us on the outside are entitled to our opinion and may work toward supporting each other’s desire to have good, decent lives, but on a personal level, we can’t tell someone that their experience(s) aren’t real. Like any personal relationship, only those on the inside can really say whether it was a mistake or not. It’s just like when a Christian preacher tells me that I can’t know what love is unless I’m his or her kind of Christian. Ah, no, you aren’t entitled to validate or invalidate my own emotional experiences. Thus, it goes the other way too. Only the person in it can decide what is good for them and what’s not with the understanding that there’s often a pretty big gap between our stated intentions and where we continually find ourselves. Coming down with some declaration trying to invalidate another’s experiences just creates boundaries and doesn’t do anything to help us understand that we’re all humans, just trying to make sense of our existence, wanting to have a better experience from what we knew before. DeWitt’s book very much communicates the struggles of a young man trying to help the world in the only way he knew and where that journey eventually led him.

Resources:

Hope after Faith by Jerry DeWitt